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Guild Wars

One Shots: Why you sit

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Culture, Star Wars Galaxies, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

One Shots Why you sit
Why you sit? Why you sit when there is so much to be done? Every minute you spend sitting, a thousand NPCs die a gruesome death that could have been prevented by your immortal battle prowess! But you sit. You sit and you admire daffodils as you ignore the noise of innocents in peril. Hope that's one mighty fine sit!

So who is this sitter? I'll let reader John introduce you: "Here is Pearl, my level 20 Archer in Final Fantasy XIV. She's obviously relaxing and enjoying the All Saint's Wake celebration. Holidays are the best time to explore the Final Fantasy world."

Why you holiday? Why you holiday when people need rescuing? With great power comes great loafing off, apparently. For more public shaming in this week's One Shots, hit the jump!

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The Soapbox: Actually, that really isn't an MMO

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, MMOFPS, MMORTS, World of Tanks, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Game title image
In last week's edition of The Soapbox, Mike Foster argued that online gaming has evolved over the past few years and that the term MMO should be expanded to cover other online games like MOBAs. He examined the blurred dividing line between new online games and the classic MMOs of yesteryear, and he made the controversial argument that Call of Duty and League of Legends should now fall under the MMO umbrella. I found myself disagreeing with many of Mike's arguments and wanting to make additional points of my own, so this week I'd like to offer a few counter-points on the same topic for debate.

The MMO market has certainly evolved since Massively was founded, with some pretty big innovations in gameplay and new ideas like the free-to-play business model taking hold. As much as people like to complain about a lack of innovation in the games industry, the same level of experimentation and evolution has hit industry-wide. Call of Duty has borrowed unlock and XP systems from the world of orcs and dragons, and League of Legends came from nowhere to be at the forefront of a global MOBA revolution, but neither of them is an MMO by any stretch of the imagination.

In this in-depth opinion piece, I break down the definition arguments surrounding the term MMO, offer a reasoned view of where the line can and should be drawn, and look at why Massively covers games other than MMOs.

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Guild Wars 2 throws anniversary bash at PAX

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (Real-World), PvP, Guild Wars 2, Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2 throws anniversary bash at PAX
ArenaNet is throwing its own mini-convention during PAX this month. The studio's rented out the Madison Ballroom in downtown Seattle's Renaissance Hotel to throw a grand anniversary bash for Guild Wars 2. The event takes place on Saturday, August 31st in the afternoon and all of the evening.

The anniversary bash kicks off with an address by President Mike O'Brien, followed by a sneak peek play session of exclusive new content, a panel on the living world of the game, a PvP invitational tournament, and a fun party. It is first-come, first-served and the event has limited capacity.

Can't come? Don't worry: ArenaNet will be livestreaming the event of anyone who would like to attend virtually.

[Thanks to Paul for the tip!]

Guild Wars celebrates Wintersday in July

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (In-Game), Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars celebrates Wintersday in July
What is this? A winter celebration in the middle of summer? Guild Wars, you're so crazy! We love you, though.

The classic Guild Wars is taking a break from reminding us that it still exists and is quite fun too by throwing an encore of its Wintersday celebration. Wintersday in July began yesterday and will continue until July 31st.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy, including the snowball arena. The game will also drop plenty of cool rewards like fruitcake. OK, the game will also drop plenty of cool rewards except for fruitcake, which is nasty and evil to its sticky core. So egg nog it up with your fellow Tyrians for the next week because the hot weather is coming back!

The Perfect Ten: MMO commercials that take us back

World of Warcraft, Video, Asheron's Call, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten Commercials that take us back
I don't see a lot of commercials these days. I like to imagine that I'm a one-man force out to frustrate advertisers, ducking and weaving whenever they try to wing a 30-second spot at me. A lot gets through, but I've long since canceled cable, and the only traditional commercials I sit through are the ones for the occasional YouTube video.

But there's something about a good commercial that can take us back on a wave of "remember whens?" and community bonding. I hear more discussions about creative ad spots the day after the Superbowl than the game itself. Commercials can even be a time capsule that unlocks memories for us of favorite movies, toys, and experiences.

But what about MMOs? Well, they have commercials too, although not as many have made it to the standard airwaves. They're out there, though. Lurking. Emitting nostalgia rays from the past. And I've been hunting them down, looking for commercials that take us back to a simpler, goofier time. A few thousand dead brain cells later, I've got 10 of the margh make it sop pleaze pleaaa...

Enjoy.

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Jukebox Heroes: Expansion themes

Age of Conan, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Allods Online, Miscellaneous, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Expansion themes
Main themes seem to be a strong favorite among video game music fans (and even the casual set), but I've talked about them a few times already. So instead of puttering around with main MMO themes, why not give expansions some of the credit?

Not every expansion gets its own theme tune, of course, but plenty do. We've covered a few of them in this column so far, including Riders of Rohan and EVE Online: Apocrypha. What we haven't done is spend an entire week looking at these upstart themes and see how they compare to the originals.

So strap on your headphones and prepare for symphonic excellence. Here are six great MMO expansion themes that deserve a few minutes of your time!

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Free for All: Why MMOs should be kept alive forever

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Video, Guild Wars, Business Models, Culture, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Free for All, Sunsets

Ryzom screenshot
We generally avoid the topic of emulator servers here at Massively for various reasons. I have different reasons for not discussing them as well, mainly that I do not agree with the use of art (games are art) without the owner's permission, no matter what. I want to get that out of the way now so we can discuss today's topic without filling the comments with emulator links we'll have to delete. And that topic is this: Should we maintain dead or dying MMOs after closure?

I started thinking about this idea because I am currently wrapped up in a project to collect and catalogue every major bookmark of my life until I am "caught up" to about the time I started working at Massively. As part of the project, I am looking to save old pictures, projects and music, especially ones that exist on paper. Paper rots, after all. The project has made me think much more about my long history with MMOs. Should I be concerned that some of the digital versions of myself have or will disappear as games are sunsetted? Should we do something about this? I think we should, but if not emus, then what?

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One Shots: The many lives of Gwen Thackeray

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Miscellaneous

One Shots Looming death
Hey Gwen, how's it hanging? Find that flute yet? Yeah, don't worry, I'm sure it'll turn up around here somewhere. Don't get too near the river there, girl; those skale have a nasty bite! Say, what's that sulfurous smell in the air? And those distant screams that are drawing nearer at an incredible rate? And a sudden looming premonition that the property values around here are about to take a nosedive?

Reader Sharvis sent in this Guild Wars picture with a modicum of pity: "Here is Gwen moments before the Searing. Poor girl."

Don't feel too sorry for her, Sharvis! She gets an entire expansion, after all!

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ArenaNet ceases Guild Wars 1 live development, automates game

Fantasy, Guild Wars, MMO Industry, Buy-to-Play

ArenaNet ceases Guild Wars live development, automates game
Guild Wars 1 has seen the end of an era of live development today, as ArenaNet stated that it is switching the game over to automation. The studio said that players should not expect any further content other than the systems being put into place to keep the game running on auto-pilot for the foreseeable future.

"Over time, our focus has shifted to updates that not only help maintain Guild Wars but help the game maintain itself," ArenaNet posted. "With this focus in mind, we'll no longer be releasing any new content for the live game except in support of automation. Our goal is to get the game to a place where it can continue to run and be available to all of our fans. We have a lot of love for Guild Wars -- it's the game that made us what we are today -- and we want to continue sharing it with everyone!"

Tournaments, events, and birthday prizes will be moved over to automation during this transition. The studio said that automating the game will keep it running longer and that it will keep a live team on Guild Wars to handle critical fixes and troubleshooting.

NCsoft sales down from last quarter, up from last year

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous

NCsoft sales down from last quarter, up from last year
A recent earnings report suggests that NCsoft's sales have slipped from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013, although the studio is quick to point out that the showing was "solid" particularly when compared to sales from a year ago. While sales were down 35% and net income was down 49% from the last quarter, sales were up 31% and net income was up 322% year-over-year.

Guild Wars 2 accounted for 21% of sales in the first quarter, in addition to Blade and Soul's 9%, Aion's 16%, and the usual Lineage cavalcade (Lineage 1 represented 38% of sales alone with its subscriptions).

While 64% of NCsoft's sales were in Korea, only 13% were in North America and 8% in Europe. The decrease in NA and EU contributions was due to "the reduction in Guild Wars 2 package sales," according to the report. All of NCsoft's subsidiaries posted drops in sales from last quarter except for NC Taiwan.

[Update: Also of note in the earnings call is the news that NCsoft's Nah Seong Chan says the company is "preparing an expansion pack" but has yet to decide when it might launch. Very interesting news indeed as ArenaNet said as recently as March that it was not working on an expansion. Thanks to Mike and Robert for the tips!]

Celebrating Guild Wars' 8th anniversary

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Anniversaries

Guild Wars
Today is Guild Wars' eighth anniversary. Depending on which tradition you follow, I should be getting the game either bronze, salt, linens, or lace as a gift. Since I don't happen to have any of those handy, I'd like to reflect upon the rich life that Guild Wars has led so far. The game didn't start out with all of the neato features that it has now, so I'd like to look a bit at its evolution over time. I can't hit every update ever, but I thought we'd take a stroll down memory lane and look at some of the key moments in the game's life.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Simple pleasures in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Guild Wars, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles

Flameseeker Chronicles Simple pleasures in Guild Wars 2
Right after finally crafting The Flameseeker Prophecies, I took my in-game efforts down a couple of notches. As a result, I've had a few fairly quiet weeks in Guild Wars 2. It's not for lack of things to do or of goals; I've still got plans for oodles of armor sets, a few of the pseudo-legendary weapons, a double-handful of additional level 80 characters, and some titles. I've just been taking a more laid-back approach to achieving those goals. For the last month or so before getting my shield I was running two to three dungeons a day along with other things like camping meta events and going into Orr for T6 mats, which is by no means hardcore but has made for a very pleasant experience switching into a lower gear. I've been taking time to enjoy the simpler pleasures of Guild Wars 2.

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Guild Wars announces 8th anniversary event

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (In-Game), Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars announces 8th anniversary event
The eighth anniversary of the launch of Guild Wars is coming at the end of this month, and ArenaNet has announced the planned celebrations to run from April 22 through April 29.

Those fans who have been with the game for several years might recognize the familiar Shing Jea Boardwalk and Roller Beetle racing festivities, but don't forget to test out your dodgeball skills in the Dragon Arena and talk to Ceira over at Embark Beach for some goodies.

Those characters celebrating eight or more years in the game will be honored with a special in-game gift card that allows them to grab their choice of birthday gift boxes from years past.

Of course there's much more to the event than this, and you can read all about it at the official announcement page and look for our own anniversary article celebrating 8 years of Guild Wars coming soon.

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Factions' soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Guild Wars Factions' soundtrack
East Asian-themed music in MMOs is something that I generally welcome. Even if the title isn't an Asian MMO, chances are that sooner or later developers like to work an Eastern zone, class, or city into the game -- and with that comes a specific sound. I'm by no means educated on what instruments are used in these tunes, but the result is so distinctive that you can't help but think of the region.

Guild Wars: Factions definitely drew upon the Orient for its theme, and composer Jeremy Soule returned to create a score that would paint a picture of Cantha. Unfortunately, I don't think he was up to the task. While technically sufficient, Factions' score is definitely lacking in the grandeur of Prophecies and the basic catchiness necessary to elevate a soundtrack out of the crowd. The best I can say is that none of the tracks is horrible to hear, but the album as a whole is actually a bit bland and forgettable.

I'm by no means besmirching Soule here. His previous and subsequent Guild Wars projects are heads and shoulders above this one, and everyone has an off day. Perhaps Asian music just wasn't his forte. In any case, I sifted vigorously to discover six tracks that best represent Cantha and its people.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Returning to a simpler time in Guild Wars

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles

Flameseeker Chronicles Returning to a simpler time
Some days, saving the world from Elder Dragons just feels like such a drag. Every time you put a dragon lieutenant down, you know that another one is, even then, being knit together from crystals or rotting corpses and it won't be all that long before it's time to save the world again.

That sort of knowledge can really take a toll on a girl.

Making full use of the magic of technology, I've started escaping the pressure of dragonfighting by going back into Guild Wars. Because it's the game that most directly relates to the state of affairs in Guild Wars 2, I've been playing the original Prophecies campaign. I've also been streaming the experience for the uninitiated, so if you'd like to catch up and live the adventure vicariously through me, you can check out the first bits on Massively's Twitch channel. If you'd like to quickly familiarize yourself with where Prophecies sits in the grand scheme of things, I recommend acquainting yourself with our brief history of Tyria.

It's been a neat experience so far. I'd like to talk about it with you.

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